Brian Hamilton: With a lot of help from our friends
Uncertainty. If any one theme has emerged throughout The Union’s ongoing “Investigating the Impact” series of stories on the toll this pandemic has taken on our community, it’s that we’re doing the best we can to get back on our feet while only knowing for certain that, well, that we simply just don’t know.
On all fronts of western Nevada County, we continue with our struggle to solve a complex puzzle — one with moving parts and unknown shapes and sizes of the missing pieces — as we move forward in the most unprecedented and unpredictable times of our lives.
Even as we’re working through reopening our community, it’s clearly not business as usual and there seems to still be more questions than answers.
But the good news is that while we’re wringing our hands over such uncertainty, we’ve pulled together in collaborative efforts to help support each other in ways that have been every bit as unprecedented as the challenges we face.
We’ve witnessed the love and goodwill of our neighbors who volunteer sweat-equity to feed our people, who ensure health workers have needed equipment, who donate dollars to help those without an income, who pull together resources and provide guidance for our small businesses as well as for those of us struggling through the stress upon us.
These are the people who roll up their sleeves and remind us that, in fact, we are all in this together.
Like any other business in town, uncertainty ruled the day when The Union closed its doors and sent our staff home. There was nothing subtle about the shift to stay afloat: no print edition on Mondays, furloughs and salary cuts for employees, and realigning remaining resources to get the job done.
A few weeks later, a PPP loan gave us enough of a shot in the arm to bring our team back to full time, as well as an opportunity to hire more help for an eight-week span to dig into the impact of the pandemic on each front of our community.
Along with staff writers Sam Corey, Cory Fisher, Walter Ford, Elias Funez, Liz Kellar, John Orona and Justin Scacco, The Union and the Sierra Sun were bolstered by the good work of temporary reporters Tom Durkin, Rebecca O’Neil, and Victoria Penate, as well as Cole Petitt and Andy Rolland, on loan from Nevada County Media and who produced the daily Nevada County Now broadcasts.
Those eight weeks ended Monday and we’re proud of the work we’ve done and continue to do. We also hope to get to work with each one of our temp team members in future efforts.
After all, collaboration is key to all we do here, and in many ways is what makes The Union the community-focused newspaper and website we publish each day.
It’s through collaboration with NC Media on Nevada County Now, with YubaNet and KVMR on town hall discussions, and with KNCO on the just launched reopening video project to support small businesses that we better serve this community. We work so well together with our shared goal in providing the news and information our people need that we easily set aside competition for the sake of collaboration in meeting our missions.
We also collaborate with community members who choose to participate in that effort, whether emailing a news release on an upcoming event, submitting a profile story or travel piece, writing an op-ed or letter to the editor, volunteering on our editorial board or sending snapshots to our Nevada County Captures page.
In weeks ahead, we hope to be collaborate with more community members — “citizen journalists,” if you will — interested in producing projects that dig into local issues and topics we know are important to you and the rest of us who live, work and play here (If you’d like get involved in such an effort, please shoot me an email).
Finally, these past several months have taken a toll on all of us. With the stress of so much uncertainty, act of kindness can go a very long way for all of us.
The words of encouragement you’ve offered have brightened our days. The generous donations you’ve made to keep your community newspaper afloat are blessings we don’t take for granted.
And, of course, those who subscribe or advertise with the paper, you’re the lifeblood to the cause.
In the end, The Union is only as strong as this community it serves. Like the rest of you, we’re working through these uncertain times by doing the best we can to serve our purpose in connecting the communities of western Nevada County.
And we need each of you — more of you — to meet that mission.
Contact Editor Brian Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4249.
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